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  • The Controversy Over Evangelii Gaudium

    by Rachel Lu

    pope-at-podium

    I’ve reached the point where I cringe a little every time I hear the name “Pope Francis” at a social gathering. No hard feelings, I hope, your Holiness. I understand that you have a big world to worry about, and can’t anticipate how your words will be heard in every single corner of it.

    So I don’t really hold it against you when friends pull out judicious quotes in an effort to bait me into arguments about global finance and inequality. If you and I sat down over tea and crumpets to discuss it, I’ve no doubt that we could have a perfectly lovely conversation. In fact, you do seem like the kind of guy who would be more than willing, time permitting, to have such a tete a tete with every single Catholic on the planet. But until you can make it to my neighborhood, I’ll just have to speculate on how that conversation might go.

    My friends seem to think I have a problem because I’m a Catholic who likes free markets. More specifically, I take my faith seriously, but I also incline towards the view that global markets are less free than they should be. I believe that less market regulation would, in general, precipitate greater human thriving. I think modern people are too quick to demand that social justice be imposed from above, when more effective solutions can often be found through an organic combination of market forces and grassroots civic organization.

    I suspect that Pope Francis and I would disagree a bit on these subjects. But I also feel that many friends (both liberal and conservative) are missing the big picture a bit when they suppose that people like me should be in a serious moral quandary right now, perhaps busily weighing which kind of apostasy (economic or religious) we prefer. Of course, if my feet are held to the fire, I will always choose the faith, but at the moment I’m not experiencing much podiatric discomfort. If we set these pragmatic disagreements against the backdrop of a full-fledged Catholic social teaching, I think they can plainly be seen for what they are: strategic quibbles about the best way to reach mutually-desired goals.

    Admittedly there are a few lines in Evangelii Gaudium that are difficult for an economic conservative to take. There is some inevitable tooth-grinding over his choice of the phrase “trickle-down economy,” which is mostly a term of abuse that critics use to denigrate supply side economics. I also find that the document contains certain maddening ambiguities, as when it suggests (in no. 204) that the “unseen forces” of the market are blind to justice, but then, in the same paragraph, declares that, “the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded.” What sort of agent are we to understand “the economy” to be in a statement like this? Weren’t we just told in the previous sentence that market forces are blind? Without clearing up these critical questions, we can’t even begin to make sense of such an exhortation on the level of public policy.

    Nevertheless, I believe we will find, if we can elevate ourselves above the fray of American politics, that Pope Francis’ message is mainly a moral one, and on that level, I am not in the least tempted to dissent. In his remarks on economics, he is taking to task a particular brand of libertarianism that sees the free market as the sole agent through which social and global justice can be attained. I am happy to join him in condemning that ideology, and in urging my fellow conservatives to move past it, embracing a more humane and holistic commitment to advancing the common good.

    To get a sense for Pope Francis’ real message, let’s consider the controversial passage that Wendy Warcholick discussed in her recent Crisis piece. Here the Holy Father criticizes “trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world” and decries “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.” He goes on to lament the “globalization of indifference” that follows on this market-worship, as the obsession with material gain desensitizes us to the needs of the poor.

    In response to these points, a number of conservative commentators have argued (in my estimation, persuasively) that no country in the world suffers from excessively free markets. As David Harsanyi points out at The Federalist, “People in places like Congo, Burundi, Eritrea, Malawi, or Mozambique live under corrupt authoritarian regimes where crippling poverty has a thousand fathers—none of them named capitalism. The people of Togo do not suffer in destitution because of some derivative scheme on Wall Street or the fallout from a tech IPO.”

    I think Harsanyi and his fellow economic conservatives are basically right on this point. But are they responding directly to what the Holy Father actually said? Note that Pope Francis’ criticisms here are not mainly directed at actual existing policies. This supposedly explosive passage says nothing about the state of global finance per se. Instead, his criticism is directed at “some people” who think that social justice will follow inexorably from the flourishing of free trade. This is fairly consistent with his language throughout Evangelii Gaudium, which continually directs our attention to objectionable attitudes that are preventing us from entering sympathetically into the concerns of the poor.

    In another controversial passage, Pope Francis contends that solutions to global poverty will necessarily require “rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation.” Again, one can draw some probable inferences about Pope Francis’ views on global finance, but his actual criticism is directed at attitudes, not policies. Seen in this light, I don’t find his criticisms problematic in the least. We should indeed reject any view that gives absolute autonomy to markets, which are relevant to certain elements of justice, but which nonetheless cannot be sensitive to all human needs.

    Occasionally (as in passage no 204) the pontiff does hint at the possibility of top-down regulation as a likely corrective to global injustices. These references, however, are too vague to create real uneasiness except for a fairly hardened libertarian. The Holy Father calls for “decisions, programs, mechanisms and processes” that yield a “better” distribution of income globally. This is the kind of exhortation that could encompass almost any imaginable effort at addressing poverty, whether public or private. Only one approach is truly condemned: the approach whereby we do nothing at all for the poor, trusting market forces to resolve every injustice and meet every need.

    A liberal critic might contend that I have now engaged in some fairly obtuse hair-splitting. By suggesting that the Holy Father’s criticisms are directed only at a fairly extreme ideological position, it may seem that I am illegitimately minimizing the impact of his message. And my interpretation may just seem implausible, given that the Holy Father is clearly criticizing attitudes that he regards as both pervasive and problematic in the world today. Hardened libertarians are a fairly rare breed, and they have had minimal success in their efforts to establish a largely-unregulated free market economy. It might seem strange for the pope to show such intense concern over a minority view.

    Then again, it may not be strange at all. There are relatively few committed Marxists in the world today, and not many self-identify as moral relativists; nevertheless we understand why Church leaders have seen fit to address these ideological positions in recent years. Ideologies can have an impact on politics and culture that goes well beyond the ranks of those who formally adhere to them. Market-worshiping libertarians do exist, albeit not in great enough numbers to put us in any real danger of creating a Randian dystopia. But their priorities and prejudices are mirrored to a great extent by many more people than would explicitly identify with their agenda.

    Outside Catholic circles, I find that it can be very difficult to engage political conservatives in a discussion of social justice or the common good. Because they are so deeply suspicious of large-scale government intervention, they tend to retreat into an atomistic individualism that swears by only two bedrock principles of justice: first, the need for a “colorblind” legal system, and second, entitlement of all people to participate in the free market. In fairness, most conservatives will stress the importance of private giving. But they often find it difficult to sustain a sophisticated conversation about the makeup of civic society or the importance of promoting the common good. The primary reason, I believe, is that political conservatives tend to regard individual liberties and the autonomy of the market as sacrosanct. I can identify the influence of a market-worshiping libertarianism in the arguments of American political conservatives.

    I am even inclined to agree that small government libertarianism may have had the effect of perpetuating inequality and preventing the poor from improving their lot in life. This is not, in my estimation, because its advocates have enjoyed too much political success and influence. Rather, they may have had just enough influence to prevent economic conservatives from achieving lasting political success. The Republican Party’s electoral woes in recent years surely do reflect at least in part an inability to persuade Americans that they are genuinely concerned about promoting the common good. Consequently, we must contend with the challenges of an over-regulated economy, a growing welfare state and a sustained assault on innocent life and religious freedom.

    It would be easier to be cheerful about the Holy Father’s message if liberals did not seem poised on the edges of their chairs, desperate for an opportunity to gloat. Nevertheless, I am not worried that I will end up as a “cafeteria Catholic.” Rather, I would see Evangelii Gaudium as a constructive challenge to economically conservative Catholics. We should see it as an opportunity to explain that it is in fact freer markets—not more regulated ones—that can help us to overcome the “economy of exclusion” that Pope Francis laments. We should seize this chance to demonstrate the strength of our thirst for justice, articulating ways in which market forces can interact with a functional civil society to produce, not only jobs and material goods, but a thriving, prosperous, innovative and just civil society in which no one is overlooked or exploited.

    (Photo Credit: CNS / Paul Haring)

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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    • TheodoreSeeber

      The problem being of course the same problem with all rule-free utopias on both the left and the right. Original sin exists, in both the human libido and in the human material ambition; when left unfettered by the top down regulation of a common culture, common good becomes impossible to even define. When individualists of any stripe decry regulation in general, what they are really denying is the monarchy of the Once and Future King himself, who is the ultimate regulation of One God, one Catholic and Universal Truth dictating Moral behavior of every human being. Rebellion against regulation is Rebellion against Him, and we know where THAT leads- one need only look at the hell brought to earth by the enlightenment.

      • Adam__Baum

        “When individualists of any stripe decry regulation in general, what they are really denying is the monarchy of the Once and Future King himself,”

        Nice strawman embedded in the weeds of your typically nebulous and vacant prose, but if you think that rejecting regulation such as that provided by the SEC (surfin’ porn, wasting it’s time on a showy prosecution of Martha Stewart, all while ignoring Bernie Madoff and missing WorldCom, Global Crossing and Enron, et al) has anything to do with the reign of Christ, you are demented.

        Then again, aren’t we all safer because the USPSC removed “Buckyballs” from the market.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          While I too mourn the loss of buckyballs, rare earth magnets small enough to swallow is certainly a valid concern for regulation. The fact that you think it isn’t is puzzling to me.

          But here’s something more puzzling- why do you think business people are exempt from Original Sin? After all, the cry of the libertarian isn’t “eliminate only corrupt regulation like the SEC”, it is “eliminate all positive law that interferes in the marketplace”- and Canon Law is full of positive prohibitions against immoral behavior and against not just force and fraud, but in fact any transaction that damages morality, is it not? The Church is the once and future Kingdom of God, of Jesus Christ himself. It is a government, which is why modernists and post-modernists, worshiping the individual instead of God, hate it, and seek in their human ambition to destroy it, on both the left and the right. One cannot remove all top down regulation without destroying first and foremost the primary source of all top down regulation- the Church herself.

          Calvinist freedom was an error. We need only the freedom to do good, not the freedom to do evil.

          • Adam__Baum

            It wasn’t “regulated”. It was obliterated. That you conflate the ideas and find this acceptable isn’t puzzling to me.

            I don’t think business people are exempt from original sin, and imputing that attitude to me simply proves that you want to fight phantoms. Imputing Christ to a sprawling federal monster simply proves that your thoughts are muddled, strewn with heresy and blasphemy.

            Chanting “Calvin” in response to everything simply makes you boring, not orthodox. Placing quotes around a phrase doesn’t make them valid attributions.

            What markets allow are alternatives. I’m sorry you choose not to be prudent in your affairs, that’s why you see the world as a big scary place seeking devour you. You were arrogant enough to enter a mortgage transaction without sufficient knowledge or the advice of an attorney and now you pay. The rest of us obtained competent counsel and we don’t claim concealment. We see the world as it is, not as we imagine it to be.

            Of course mortgages are heavily regulated, by a myrial of federal and state agencies-and they’ll still didn’t protect you-of course almost nothing will protect you from your own stupidity.

            Adults take responsibility for their mistakes, children cry “unfair”. Next time, get a lawyer.

            As for your version of freedom, it sounds a lot like Islam.

            • TheodoreSeeber

              “It wasn’t “regulated”. It was obliterated.”

              Only as a brand name and a marketing scheme. You can still get spherical rare earth magnets, just not small enough to swallow and not marketed as a toy.

              I’m saying we need to replace the sprawling federal monster *with Christ*. But of course, all that means is that you’d rail against Christ, because you don’t want Christ, you want the free market.

              “What markets allow are alternatives.”
              The alternative to sin is not good.

              “The rest of us obtained competent counsel”

              The rest of you were scammed into paying a legal bill by a profession that prides itself on fraud.

              And it wasn’t a mortgage. It was a time share.

              • Adam__Baum

                “Only as a brand name and a marketing scheme. You can still get spherical rare earth magnets, just not small enough to swallow and not marketed as a toy.”
                Ok, well I’m sure children won’t swallow them now that they are 25mm in diameter sand that they are’t marketed as toys.
                Have another Kool-Aid.

                • TheodoreSeeber

                  I was wrong, you can even still get the exact same product, just not packaged as a toy:

                  http://www.kjmagnetics.com/products.asp?cat=12

                  • Adam__Baum

                    No you can’t.

                    You can get imitators.

                    http://www.getbuckyballs.com/

                    • TheodoreSeeber

                      The life of a corporation is worthless

                      • Adam__Baum

                        What’s worthless is your incessant bitter bile.
                        Theodore, if you can’t post somehing useful, shut up.

        • Art Deco

          There is a distinction between complaints about ‘regulation’, about a particular sort of regulation, about a particular body of regulations, and about their administration by a given agency. Your 1st complaint about the SEC would likely be that it had a rancid institutional culture. Harry Markopolous in his account of his dealings with the SEC noted the difference between the disposition of the Boston and New York office there. Meghan Cheung, the SEC official most responsible for the agency’s negligence, is an attorney. They were hiring the wrong sorts of people there.

          • Adam__Baum

            The SEC has always been a make work program for an odious type of corporate philosopher. I actually can’t think of anything the SEC does effectively, to be honest – other than kill trees.

            • Art Deco

              Megan McArdle would disagree with you.

              Markopolous said that the Boston office understood his points quite well re Madoff and would have pursued him vigorously if Bernard L. Madoff Securities had been based in their jurisdiction. He said the financial illiterates in the New York office just gave him a blank look. What I cannot figure is why the Boston office could not red-flag this for the New York office.

              Which gets back to a point made by Joseph Stiglitz about intramural government debates: economists v. lawyers. I suspect the problem is that lawyers are too influential just about everywhere and if I am not mistaken, they were never subject to civil service examinations. What’s strange about it all is that this woman Cheung had no access to or cared not to consult anyone who could have understood Markopolous’ proofs.

              • Adam__Baum

                Two questions:
                1.) MM would disagree with me about what?.
                2.) Why should I subordinate my opinion to hers?

                • Art Deco

                  That’s a piece of reportage, not an argument.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Actually it was two questions, not an argument.

                    Since you didn’t elasborate:

                    Shortly after the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley in November or so 2002, I happened to be home and turned on CSPAN. There was one of those “filler” broadcasts they were running mid-day when there was no “action”. The coverage that day was of a meeting of a Securities Bar. The master or ceremonies got began his remarks by saying that they were there tio discuss SOX, or as it was better known “the Securities Attorneys full employment Act”. That should tell you whose winning Stiglitz’ intramural debates.

                    Did you know the SEC rotinely get skewered on audit?

                    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-621

                    And their financial statements are screwed up?

                    http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-274R

                    As for McArdle, she can be very good, but despite the Chicago MBA, she’s a journalist, not a practitioner.

                    • Art Deco

                      I am not sure how you got the idea I was filing a brief for the Securities and Exchange Commission. I am not defending the Securities and Exchange Commission. I am merely transmitting the opinions offered by McArdle and Markopolous. I think McArde’s business background was in two sectors: tech and construction (or was it waste hauling?). I do not think she worked in finance, though I think she had some instruction in finance in business schools. My guess would be that her opinion of the Commission staff was from people she knows in her social circle and on her Rolodex.

                      Again, my guess from Markopolous’ account is that the agency should be re-founded and that the new agency should consist of financial professionals supplemented by attorneys rather than one dominated by attorneys.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Since you didn’t (and still haven’t) explained to me what she was would disagree with me about, I still can’t do much more than guess.

                        McArdle, unless wikpedia is wrong, has no background in construction. Her involvement in tech is blogging which she started in post 9/11. She is to me the young, female equivalent of George Will.

                        On the other hand, I am not just an MBA with an interest in finance, but a practicioner. The SEC has never done what it was promised to do. They do much of what the TSA does, engage conspicuous displays. THe historical record is clear. They avert nothing. SOX was supposed to be the big fix. It accomplished nothing, because the ugly secret is the Big 4 are too FEW to fail.

                      • Art Deco

                        McArdle worked for a series of business enterprises between 1995 and 2003 betwixt and between attending business school. At least three were in software development or tech support. One was a construction company. He blogging started as a hobby while she was working for the construction firm. (I am not exactly sure what that firm did. I think it may have been hauling debris).

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Still waiting for why her internships trump my 20+ years.

                      • Art Deco

                        I never suggested they did. I merely noted she had a different view of the SEC staff. That is all. No, she was a working adult between 1995 and 2003, not an ‘intern’.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Well now we finally get to it. I’m not taking a position on SEC staff, but the SEC as an organization, its mission and its capacity to fulfill that mision. I don’t cae who disagrees.
                        (Although my attempt to find a bio on McArdle shows that she inspires an awful lot of disjointed and deranged lefist rants, so maybe I’ll have to give her some additional consideration in the future.)

    • lifeknight

      Thank you for an enlightened view of our Holy Father’s exhortation. I am a nurse and mother who has run a medical charity for the poor for 18 years—as a volunteer. My latest experience with fundraising has been that I have had great success due to the Pope’s proclamations. Many commenters here would recall that I—like you— am trying to figure out what the heck the Pope is thinking AND saying! All I know is that many people are feeling a tad more generous this year. It is voluntary charity, however, not mandated. Perhaps if we look at his ideas in a positive sense we will see some good results…..such as charitable giving.

      Please send your article to Rush. I felt his pain when discussing the exhortation!

    • publiusnj

      As Ms. Lu says, “trickle down” is a term of derision created by those who oppose capitalism. We should not try to defend unfettered capitalism on the grounds that even disproportionate and outsized gains for the rich, unjustified by inventiveness will somehow “trickle down.” Instead we need to say that we do not advance “trickle down” but free market capitalism with a safety net that is designed to help the poorest of the poor and to give the rest the ability to reap the fruits of their God-given talents.

      It is not surprising that Pope Francis has a suspicion about unfettered capitalism in ways that worry North American conservatives. Unlike Americans whose view of poverty is conditioned by the 48 year old war on poverty with its wide-spread crippling of generations of people turned into life-long dependents of the Government, the Pope has long been exposed to the grinding poverty that is so visible and wide-spread in South America’s favelas that get next to no aid from a governmental “safety-net.” The dialogue with Pope Francis should not begin with a stark defense of the trickle down benefits of robber baron capitalism, but with a recognition that unfettered capitalism would be bad–if it were practiced–but that is not where the advanced countries are. they do recognize the need for a safety net. The precise problem is defining what is enough of a safety net and what is too much. In the US, there is probably too much safety net, while in S. America, Africa and parts of Asia, there is too little.

      A CAUTION: we are Catholics because we are in communion with the Holy See of Rome. While the Pope is not infallible on matters of economics, we aren’t either and more importantly, we are not infallible on any matters whatsoever. Even though there are only twice as many Protestants as Catholics in this country, there are 15 times as many Protestant churches. That is because in P’ism, everybody (or nobody) is in charge of everything. Jesus Christ has given His Holy Catholic Church its leader (Matt. 16:18 et seq.: John 21: 15 et seq.; Acts 2; Acts 15) and he has been succeeded by the bishops of Rome (Irenaeus of Lugdunum, Adversus Haereses 3:3:2 (180 AD)). We are so fortunate to have that touch-”stone.” We should never surrender a sensible capitalism but we should learn to address that pro-capitalist message to a skeptical Pope who has seen the awful depths to which the poor of South America have fallen.

      • Mark Hirsch

        Awesome post.

      • Don Campbell

        We must remember that when the Pope speaks of an unchecked free market he is probably referring more to the South American experience than to the American one. When we look back to the Industrial Revolution in the West, we can see that, while it ultimately lifted untold millions out of abject poverty, it also ground up and destroyed a lot of people. That gave rise to labor laws and worker protections and the minimum wage and a host of other protections for the weak and vulnerable. None of that really exists in most South American countries and the result is a turn toward socialism and statism. In some cases, it leads to “socialist / Marxist” dictatorships that are the enemy of the Church. Pope Francis is merely reiterating Catholc Social Doctrine that condemns both a completely unchecked free market and a state controlled command economy.

        • Adam__Baum

          “That gave rise to labor laws and worker protections and the minimum wage and a host of other protections for the weak and vulnerable.”

          Minimum wage laws are not “worker protections”. You can force somebody to pay a price, but you can’t force them to hire. ”

          If the people that want a $15.00/hour minimum wage get their way, then there’ll be fewer McDonald’s and Walmarts, they’ll substitute technology for people, reduce hours, insist on more salaried positions working longer hours and engage in all kinds of changes that will reduce employment.

          Then we’ll have more stories about the great divide and a need for a new social safety net.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            ” fewer McDonald’s and Walmarts”

            Promise? These two businesses are the poster children of denying Deuteronomy 24:14-15

            • Adam__Baum

              Really? You fired your employees.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                You, however, keep quoting economists rather than scripture. You remind me of Ludwig Von Mises.

                • Adam__Baum

                  You aren’t even a good liar. I almost NEVER quote economists, or anybody else. You remind me of the prince of lies.

        • Micha_Elyi

          “We must remember that when the Pope speaks of an unchecked free market he is probably referring more to the South American experience…”–Don Campbell

          Yeah, sure–as if Pope Francis could name but one “unchecked free market” anywhere in South America.

          Try again.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            I can’t name one that isn’t. Yeah, they look like regulated dictatorships, but with enough money, even the governments there are for sale. That’s the very definition of an unchecked free market.

            • Adam__Baum

              “regulated dictatorships”
              Oxymoron.

      • hombre111

        American conservative Catholics need to explain the fact that 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 150 million, that five percent of Americans own half its wealth, the decline of the middle class, and the fact that the number of poor children is approaching the percentage seen in the Great Depression. To blame Obama begs the question. According to conservatives, the private market has the energy and imagination to solve these things. But the heroes of that market whine “government regulation.” You mean, the only way you can bring prosperity is if you have permission to trash our air and water, and produce tainted and inferior products that endanger the health and safety of Americans? Umm. That is the Chinese solution.

        • Art Deco

          1. No, American conservative Catholics do not need to explain specific asset distributions, nor are these metrics interesting in most circumstances.

          2. There is no ‘decline of the middle class’.

          3. Official poverty levels were defined by administrative regulation in 1953. Presumably someone could synthesize for earlier eras making use of available data. Given that real income per capita was during the Depression was around about 20% of what it is today, given the share of personal income accounted for by wages and salaries was slightly lower then, and given that a mean of 18% of the population was either unemployed without qualification or stashed in the Works Progress Administration &c., it is highly unlikely that child poverty is more prevalent today than then.

          4. The changing age pyramid of the population below the official poverty line has been a function of changes in family relations which the Church has critiqued.

        • Adam__Baum

          I can imagine having a pleasant conversation with some leftists, but not with this dour old prune.

          The Chinese solution is the fusion of state and enterprise. Who wants that? Oh yeah, you.

          • vishmehr24

            The commanding heights of the economy are inevitably coordinated with the State. It is delusional to think otherwise. The entire history is against you.

            • Art Deco

              Waal, why not explain it to the deluded?

              1. What are the ‘commanding heights’?

              2. What is meant by ‘co-ordinated with the state’?

              3. What is the sequential process which renders this ‘inevitable’?

              • vishmehr24

                1. Commanding heights could be Church in medieval era, East Indian Company in 18C, railways in 19C, petroleum in 20C and internet in 21C.

                2.”co-ordinated” means that the State takes an interest in them as it does not in your corner grocery.

                3. The nature of the State renders this inevitable. Something that effects the nation at large must be subject to State coordination.

                • Art Deco

                  Your reply is non-responsive.

        • msmischief

          The very poorest of Americans live in the 70th percentile world-wide. Those who object to American conservative Catholics need to explain why we should be less concerned about the actual poor, frequently lacking food, clean water, shelter, and clothes, than with our countrymen who happen to have a little less than us, just because the actual poor live in other countries.

          • http://itascriptaest.wordpress.com/ Ita Scripta Est

            I agree that the worst aspects of poverty have been ameliorated but that is only because the we have had the triumph of the welfare state. Like Pope Francis says the welfare state is at best a temporary solution.

            • Adam__Baum

              “I agree that the worst aspects of poverty have been ameliorated but that is only because the we have had the triumph of the welfare state. ”

              Right, because the inner cities are clean, safe places with intact families, fantastic work ethics and we only had to spend a few trillion dollars to achieve this triumph.

              Are you on crack or meth?

              • http://itascriptaest.wordpress.com/ Ita Scripta Est

                Without welfare, you would be looking at something like Somalia.

                • Adam__Baum

                  Parts of Chicago, New York, Philadelphia & L.A. might be worse.
                  Don’t get out much, do ya’?

                  • http://itascriptaest.wordpress.com/ Ita Scripta Est

                    I think all of America is becoming more barbaric, though perhaps in different ways.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Congratulations on the “triumph of the welfare state”.

                      • http://itascriptaest.wordpress.com/ Ita Scripta Est

                        Yep all those evils are from the welfare state. American freedumb is vindicated.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Well let’s see. The inner city social pathologies that have fatherlessness as their phalanx started to blossom when “Great Society” was conceive, and even though now it is like most cancers metastasizing, it still is most apparent in the inner city.
                        So the short answer is yes those evils are from the welfare state.

                      • Art Deco

                        I would not be so categorical. Social phenomena tend to be correlated with a number of variables. The decay in the durability of family life was manifest across the occident.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Of course almost nothing has a single, proximate, identifiable cause. I would however refer you to Murray’s Losing Ground. There’s a couple others whose titles escape me at the moment.

                      • Art Deco

                        I would not bother much about Murray as a producer of quantitative social research. His background is in political science, not sociology or economics. I seem to recall that Losing Ground was taken apart on the numbers. He produces a good quantity of interesting opinion pieces. I think his obsession with psychometrics is likely a mistake.

                        I think it was Kaus who sorted some of the literature he was consuming on the topic ca. 1986 into what he called ‘the bribe theory’ and ‘the umbilical cord theory’. The former is that slum populations are responding to incentives. The latter is that social tendencies which have an autonomous motor are given supplementary fuel by social policy.

                        I think the experience after 1996 is most suggestive, but you can look at social indicators from every stratum of society. The breakdown in family solidarity and in the ordering of human sexuality toward the ends of domestic life has been a feature of every stratum. Bad social policy added some ill-effects to the social world of a certain population.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        ACtually, it was taken apart by politics.

                      • Art Deco

                        Not that I can recall. It’s been thirty years, but there were some real problems with his numerical examples. The phenomena of bastardy and divorce are so prevalent at every social level and found in spades in so many different countries that it really is not plausible to attribute the advance of the phenomenon itself to bad social policy. As we speak, the TANF caseload is somewhere around 4 million, but around 40% of all children are born out of wedlock.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        “As we speak, the TANF caseload is somewhere around 4 million, but around 40% of all children are born out of wedlock”
                        As we speak is 33 years outside the scope of the book.That was the etiology. The mechanics of propagation are different.

                      • http://itascriptaest.wordpress.com/ Ita Scripta Est

                        No, many of those pathologies predated the Great Society or New Deal and are rather a result of other factors.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Prove it. Your affection for the welfare state isn’t proof.

                      • http://itascriptaest.wordpress.com/ Ita Scripta Est

                        You are brilliant Adam, how do extrapolate from “welfare as best a temporary solution” to me “loving” the welfare state? Capitalism proved to be quite acidic in breaking and destroying traditional culture including the inner city. Research the famous Poletown case where big business essentially destroyed a ethnic community in order to build a new factory.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        You are a statist idolater. You think there’s been a “triumph”, you think it stands between us and Somalia, when you can’t defend it you attribute it’s pathologies to general barbarism, so I’m on firm gound infering you love it.

                        Funny how Coleman Young is a “capitalist”.

                        I’m not at all assured by your assurances of my intellect. I already know it’s fairly pedestrian, but to you that might seem brilliant.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Let’s see. You claim the “triumph” of the welfare state, you claim it’s all that stands between us and Somalia, you refuse to consider it had some effect on the large cities, attributing everything to a general rise in barbarism. Yep, you love the welfare state.

                        Coleman Young was a “capitalist”?

                        I take no comfort in your assurances about my intellect, even though from your vantage point, it must appear absolutely incandescent.

                      • Art Deco

                        Research the famous Poletown case where big business essentially destroyed a ethnic community in order to build a new factory.

                        I do not think episodic crony capitalist projects cooked up by big city mayors are so potent that the explain pervasive social phenomena manifest over many decades.

                      • Art Deco

                        Actually, no. As recently as 1960, about 97% of all children were born within wedlock and most of the remainder put up for adoption. In black populations, a woman who retained her bastard child generally married someone else within a few years (as did Jesse Jackson’s mother).

                        IIRC, marital attrition rates in the late 19th century were such that you could expect about 6% of all marriages to end in civil dissolution. You had a graduate increase in this proportion through the 1st World War, then wild flux from about 1919 to about 1947. From 1947 to 1967, marital attrition rates hardly changed, experiencing some mild flux, and implicated a 20% lifetime probability of marital dissolution. The change in those rates from 1967 to 1979 exceeded that of the previous 90 years. It was a flip to a completely different social ecosystem. Since about half the population was working outside the agrarian sector by 1880, it cannot be attributed to ‘capitalism’.

                    • Art Deco

                      No, street crime is less common than was the case a generation ago, particularly rape and homicide. The use of street drugs is also less prevalent and severe.

                      What is worse would be public sensibilities re sexual display, a regard for appearances and manners generally, and in the sexual and amatory behavior of youth.

                • Art Deco

                  Um no. You would not be looking at that. Somalia has been in an anarchic state since 1991. The place is such a ruin that the World Bank does not attempt to offer estimates of standards of living therein.

                  The poorest African countries have per capita incomes about 2% that of what prevails in the United States. There is no significant segment of the working population with earning power that low. Even someone living on shelter and soup kitchen donations would likely consume more in a year in this country.

                  Again, even in slum neighborhoods, most of the working aged adult population is working, just for crummy wages.

            • Art Deco

              I agree that the worst aspects of poverty have been ameliorated but that
              is only because the we have had the triumph of the welfare state. Like
              Pope Francis says the welfare state is at best a temporary solution.

              Actually, no. Secular improvements in production borne of technological adaptation and organizational efficiencies will ever be the main culprit. What common provision and redistribution do is address certain problems derived from the deficiencies of a subject as an economic actor. You can do that with the elderly and with juveniles in state custody. With the disabled, you have some problems in assessing eligibility with any degree of reliability. When your talking with working-aged and able bodies people and their dependents, it has to be structured under the assumption that the clients have a baseline of social competence and industry, and so supplements earned income rather than supplanting it.

              The social work industry was dead set against that, and the discourse in the Democratic Party reflected that, as it did among squish Republicans prior to 1987 or thereabouts. The dissenters were renegades like R.M. Kaus and Lawrence Mead.

              • http://itascriptaest.wordpress.com/ Ita Scripta Est

                That’s nice. I am not arguing for the social work industry though.

                • Art Deco

                  That’s nice.

                  You did not differentiate between different subsets of the conventional ‘welfare state’ and you attributed all amelioration of social conditions to ‘the welfare state’ (re read your statement above; you did just that). Real personal income per capita has increased by a factor of more than four since 1929; that has some affect on people’s material consumption, no?

        • Don Campbell

          Hombre, I love you brother, but the American economy is the most open and egalitarian in the history of the world. What’s causing our current problem is a global labor force that is hungry and willing to work for peanuts to produce the things we used to produce. When you figure out how to change that, let me know, because until then we are going to have to get used to stagnating or shrinking incomes for the majority of the people. I suppose we could confiscate the wealth of the 400. Is that what you would propose? And once that has been spent, what’s your next plan?

          • Art Deco

            because until then we are going to have to get used to stagnating or shrinking incomes for the majority of the people.

            Again, incomes are not stagnating or shrinking for most people.

      • Micha_Elyi

        “Safety net” is a code word for “Render the poor unto Caesar” and that, honey, Christians are never directed to do.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          When do we start rendering Caesar unto Christ?

          • Adam__Baum

            Right after you stop worshipping it. The biggest impediment might be the scandalous supplication of the government by the corpulent Cardinal.

            Come on, we want to be cheerleaders.

            • TheodoreSeeber

              I’m the one saying tear down Caesar, but you just keep trying to pit Romulus against Remus without recognizing that they’re both the same thing.

              • Adam__Baum

                No you aren’t at all. You worship the state. Above you tell people to dictate their compensation by state food stamp limits, because you consider that an honest indicator of wage adequacy, raher than just an arbitrary number.

                You are statist idolater.

                • TheodoreSeeber

                  The only State I am interested in is the Kingdom of God, and Jesus Christ. I give my allegiance to that state alone, and to no other. There is no difference between business and state- both are governments.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Yo have demonstrated your allegiences. The state, and your fantasiese, time share buyer.

        • publiusnj

          If you oppose any safety net, then the Pope is right about you….”honey.” Opposition to any safety net is one of the things that give ideologically pure “conservatives” a bad name. Although raised a Democrat, I became a Republican because of the Democrats’ despicable callousness toward the children whose mothers would kill them. I also agree with the central Reublican position that the marketplace is generally a better way to allocate resources than governmental fiat, but the failures of unfettered capitalism are clear just by mentioning a few years: 1873, 1929 and 2007. When one overlays issues such as schizophrenia, the heartlessness of no safety net is even clearer. It is perhaps easier to defend an ideological position if one is particularly arch in one’s insistence on ideological purity, but in the end few but the ideoligocally pure appreciate a heartless Scrooge.

          • Facile1

            I generally agree with your posts EXCEPT that I cannot agree with your basic assumption that government is necessary.

            Love GOD first. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. And there will be no need for government and its taxes.

            However, until everyone does so, we must repay Caesar what is Caesar’s (and Caesar insists on being paid first and the amount to be repaid is not negotiable).

            The only thing worse than being poor, is to be poor and enslaved to sin.

            • publiusnj

              Too easy, Facile. If we get rid of government, then we are back to the war of all against all. Then life will be nasty, brutish short, etc. And control by the strongest will emerge out of that, and the strongest will call their rule “government.” Then we’ll have to go through another long period of defining rights, duties etc. perhaps with a stay in judgeships, kingdoms, feudalism, etc. So “let’s call the whole thing off” and deal with the rea;it of government; you just can’t wish it away.

              • Facile1

                There is nothing easy about loving GOD, loving one’s self and loving one’s neighbor. But it is the only way — let alone the Christian way.

                However, that is not to say I am an anarchist. I know I am lucky that here in the Philippines, the Roman Catholic Church is still a viable alternative to government services in matters of healthcare and education. So I can still afford to render unto Caesar (and in my case to TWO Caesars) what each demands for repayment.

                I do not believe Jesus advocates the immediate, violent overthrow of government. BUT I also do not believe that a withdrawal of government will result necessarily and inevitably in anarchy — NOT if the withdrawal is done mindfully, courageously and lovingly.

                It may not happen in my lifetime. But who is to say what is impossible for GOD?

          • Adam__Baum

            The safety net is should be family, the Church, voluntary associations, then local and state government. Not the highly politicized, counterproductive dependency and inmmorality generator that is the Federal directed system.

            We better transition soon. Someday a Treasury auction won’t go as planned.

            As a side benefit, the we won’t have groveling Cardinals.

      • WGQuixote

        Traditionally, it was the Church that provided the safety net by encouraging those better off to assist those in need. The Church also provided the charitable agencies for this voluntary transfer of wealth which respected the dignity of the destitute, treating them as persons, while reminding the rich that their prosperity ultimately depended on God to whom they would have to render an account.
        What disturbed me more about the Holy Father’s comments on economic inequality was the apparent absence of any honest critique of the Church’s role as a charitable agent. Conceding that role to the government is an abdication of our own personal responsibility to help the poor. I must admit that it frosts me when I hear self righteous sermons that assume I am heartless if I don’t endorse the government’s poverty programs or health care plans. Thank you Father, but our children and grandchildren are already inheriting a crippling debt to run these unaccountable and unsustainable programs that only reinforce poverty. What actual resources, financial and otherwise, is the Church itself committing to help needy families overcome their obstacles? Talk is cheap and running charitable programs with federal funds taken from our grandchildren’s pockets doesn’t cut it.

    • Don

      Ms. Lu, you offer a helpful approach to understanding what our Pope may be saying. Unfortunately, the approach still requires some level of speculation. Whether by intent or design, the Holy Father does not communicate in precise terms or with the razor logic of his predecessor. From my very limited perspective, his approach is a matter of concern.

      • lifeknight

        This is a good point, Don. I would heartily agree that we need ideas, exhortations, whatever– spelled out more clearly by the Holy Father.

      • Guest

        I think Dr. Lu does a great job here and I agree with you. The problem is clarity and precision. I cannot understand why things cannot be made more clear or at least clarified after the fact?

      • wineinthewater

        I think the problem is that the pope comes from a Catholic culture. When he speaks, it seems that he assumes that his audience already knows Catholic social and moral teaching. I don’t find what he says vague, but I know the context. I can see his words being very confusing to those without the grounding in Catholic social teaching.

    • jacobhalo

      The pope should be concerned about the souls of the people, not the economics. Jesus’s only quote about the government was, Render to Cesar the things that are cesar’s and to
      God the things are are God’s.

      • Mark Hirsch

        What makes you think he doesn’t? Did you just read the article? Have you listened to Pope Francis?

        • Micha_Elyi

          I’m wondering where “Render the poor unto Caesar” is in Pope F’s bible.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Looks to me it’s more “render Caesar unto Christ”.

            • Adam__Baum

              You think it was an accident that Christ’s temptation in the desert involved showing Kingdoms of the world? I didn’t see any mention of the devil showing businesses.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                At the time, the Kingdoms of the world *were* business- big business. There is no functional difference between a CEO and a dictator.

                • Adam__Baum

                  Who said the show was limited to then.

                  Dictators don’t get fired, time share buyer.

                  Ignorance and envy – the twin towers of bitterness.

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    • http://renewthechurch.wordpress.com/ Thomas Richard

      Structuring a government and an economy with the proper division of authority according to subsidiarity is, it seems to me, the issue at hand. The main problem here and now, it seems to me, is that the Church ought not be a teacher to the secular world “from the outside”. The Church ought, rather, to be an agent of righteousness “in the inside” of the culture – not leading from the top, not leading from behind, but leading from within.

      Thus the crucially important vocation of the laity is called for – we the laity are called to be agents of holiness in the culture – to transform culture from within, as part of it. When holy men and women are a guiding part of government, within government, government becomes more holy and more trustworthy. When holy men and women are a guiding part of the forces of capitalism and economics, working with these sectors of the society, then these sectors act in ways more beneficial for us all. But when the Church becomes drowsy – lethargic – apathetic – lukewarm in matters of truth and righteousness – worldly, carnal, living as if God does not exist – then the culture is without light and salt, and evil thrives.

      The Church is approaching irrelevance in this culture, because she has lost so much of her reverence – a rightful and due “fear of the Lord.” In this, I believe, the hierarchy is culpable. The society needs and deserves the light of a faithful Catholic laity permeating it, a holy leaven lifting the whole from within! The Catholic laity need and deserve a clergy faithful to their role of service as priest, prophet and king: the laity need to be taught and formed and empowered by grace to go and be Christ in this world!

      The Church needs to be Church: when each part functions rightly, His mission will begin effectively. We are sent to make disciples. But for now, we seem content to build nicer parishes.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        And the first job we have in that, is to make sure EVERY ministry, pays workers a just living wage. If there is any place Catholics have a tendency to fall down on, it is that!

        We need to heal ourselves first, before we can become Holy to the world.

        • NE-Catholic

          Absolutely, the place to start is at the local level. There is one place that the Church fails outrageously. I know of NO effort or policy of any religious order, association or diocese that makes any effort to assure that every employee be they priest, nun, brother, lay staff working as janitors, secretary, cook, etc. is paid a LIVING WAGE. Most, if not every diocese enjoys the uncompensated labor of religious order staff. At the same time, every Sunday, the decry profit, the accuse businesses of mendacity and greed and insist on they pay workers a “living wage”. (Currently being argued requiring $15/hour for the most basic tasks.) Yet, just for the last couple of Sundays – the homily included a plea for donations to cover the costs of caring for aging religious staff that serve the diocese at no compensation. Total hypocrisy!

          • msmischief

            You do have to factor in payment in kind.

          • Micha_Elyi

            Whatever priests and religious are paid, bishops pay lay volunteers even less.

            Bishop Blaire of Stockton, I’m looking at you.

            • Adam__Baum

              His retirement can’t come fast enough.

        • Adam__Baum

          What is a “just living wage”? Do workers have any obligation to deliver efforts of value to their employer?

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Absolutely they do. But the obligation is not one way. There is also the obligation of the employer to respond to a full work schedule with enough money to supply food, clothing, shelter, and medical care for the worker and his dependents. If you spent a little more time with rerum novarum and a little less time with Protestants and atheists and profit-comes-first economics, you’d know this.

            • Adam__Baum

              Notice: No answer, just another diversion.

              Theodore, if you’d spend time with people rather than the phantoms of your mind, you might realize how delusional you really are-with that smug and prideful arrogation of being in a position to judge the prudential judgments of people who’ve forgotten more than you’ll know.

              I remain convinced that something diabolical is at work in you.

              Luther was pretty good at casting the type of aspersions you toss off so readily.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                Which word did you not understand? Absolutely, they, or do?

                • Adam__Baum

                  Saying absolutely they do, and blowing right past it, isn’t an answer. Tell me how they do it.

                  As for the list of goodies you expect, there- well genius, how does this work for self-employment, commission, day labor, project work, temporary or casual employment internships…

            • msmischief

              Well, then, the first step in that is that the worker gives the employer a copy of his budget so that the employer can overlook it and ensure he is not squandering his wages.

              It being impossible to provide a worker with wages enough to ensure the supply of food, clothing, shelter, and medical care for the worker and his dependents without that limit. Secondary poverty can always come in.

              The paternalistic relationship must come with paternal authority for the one in charge.

              If the worker wishes to insist that the relationship is instead one between a seller (of his labor) and the one who buys it, like a shopkeeper and his customer — well, the customer has no duty to ensure that the shopkeeper is earning a living wage.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          I am not sure what you are referring to, but I would tend to say that the real solution is to eliminate almost every “ministry.” We are plagued with ministries in the post-Vatican II Church.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            Yes, we’re plagued with ministries. But no, that’s not what I’m referring to.

            I’m referring to the fact that even in the most Orthodox parishes, we expect the pastor (who should have a lower living wage to begin with as he has no dependents) to take a vow of poverty and then leave the responsibility for their retirement up to the archbishop.

            Not to mention the extreme overuse of volunteers, both from religious orders and from the laity.

            If we expect our rich donors to pay a living wage to their workers, as not just Catholic Social Teaching but even old Testament Judaism demanded (Dt 24:14-15), then should we not start with the House of God itself? If you’re going to ask a young person to help out the priest and work 40 hours a week doing youth ministry, shouldn’t you at least pay her enough to live in a studio apartment?

            • Micha_Elyi

              “…we expect the pastor to take a vow of poverty…”
              –Theodore&nbspSeeber

              Really? You have a priest of a mendicant order as pastor? (Secular priests have no such vow. Maybe you want to try again.)

              • TheodoreSeeber

                Secular priests may have no such vow- yet the average wage of a Catholic pastor is $12,000/year. AVERAGE.

                He’d do better as a fry cook at McDonalds.

                • Adam__Baum

                  With housing and honoraria. Then again, you are the one that said they don’t need much.

              • Adam__Baum

                For crying out loud don’t tell him try again.

            • Adam__Baum

              Theodore, Catholics might be orthodox, but not Orthodox. No wonder you are so confused.

          • Adam__Baum

            Starting with the USCCB. It is one of those landed estates that burden us.

        • Guest

          How much is a just living wage and how is it determined in each situation?

          • TheodoreSeeber

            By knowing your workers enough to help them with their budget and knowing how big their family is. By being involved enough with your community to know your local cost of living. And by following the golden rule enough to say that your servant needs as much to live as you do.

            • Guest

              Really? Ok, and then when there is not enough money to do that then what? You seem to be saying any job must provide this type of wage? Is that correct?

              • TheodoreSeeber

                “Ok, and then when there is not enough money to do that then what?”

                If you can’t be just in your dealings with other people, perhaps you should start by asking yourself if you are moral enough to own a business.

                And I’m not the one saying it. I hate prooftexting, but sometimes only by reading James Chapter 5 and Deuteronomy Chapter 24, with a big helping of the Catholic Encyclopedia, will wisdom come.

                • Guest

                  Have you ever had to run a business or meet a payroll? From your posts it appears the answer is a big no. See, it is not about honesty, but is about production, collections, and paying to keep the doors open.

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    I have run a business, and I have met payroll, and I closed the doors and laid everybody off before expecting them to work one minute without payroll.

                    Yes it is about production, collections, and paying to keep the doors open. Where did I say it wasn’t? What I am saying is a just part of production is actually keeping your workers alive long enough to produce. You seem to expect that paying people $1.25/day is enough, since that is by far the going global wage.

                    • Guest

                      No, I am not saying that at all. I am saying that it is impossible to pay this self defined “just living wage” in every circumstance. To claim it is is absurd.

                      You need to define the type of business, the type of employee, the type income, and much more.

                      Sorry I do not believe you ever met a payroll.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      “and I closed the doors and laid everybody off”

                      No you didn’t. You terminated them. Laid off means a temporary discharge.

                • Adam__Baum

                  You should ask yourself if you are moral enough to post.
                  Have you read the passage about removing the log from your own eye?
                  Time share purchaser is comment enough on your business acumen.

                  • me

                    One of these days he was lecturing us on not having insurance so we could give everything else to the poor. Now he buys a time share? I mean, isn’t it totally superfluous to own those things? Vacation houses? What for?

              • Micha_Elyi

                Ted’s as confused as Pope Francis, sad to say.

                • Guest

                  No, the Pope is not confused. He is saying we worship money and as a culture we do.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Especially the left that sees money-especially money expropriated from others as the solution to everything. Those of us who actually have some functional financial skills know money is just a tool, not a demigod.

                    Money doesn’t buy happiness, it just buys name brand misery.

              • Adam__Baum

                In Theodores world, there’s just “jobs”, no distinguishing individual merit, no experience, no skill, no differences whatsover. We’re all just cogs in a machine.
                Then again, Theodore doesn’t understand the implications of his delusions. .

                • TheodoreSeeber

                  Completely incorrect. That’s why I said a living wage, not a minimum wage.

                • Guest

                  Apparently, the money just magically appears and is neatly distributed so all is perceived as fair regardless of reality.

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    Money is printed on a printing press by the government for next to nothing. And that’s exactly what it is worth.

                    • Guest

                      Do you have one?

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Then stop worshipping it.

            • Adam__Baum

              You are pretty good at defining rules for others. Where’s this enterprise you run with these rules.
              And in the real world, you just priced out people with large families.
              I saw that logic when I was single and it was explained to me that (by my boss) who told me that because he was married with kids and my co-worker was married with kids, there were limits on what he could expect from himself and from her, “but your time is your own”.
              I informed him allowing him to extract from my time would impair my pursuit of a wife and I had no intentions of marrying the company, and if he persisted in this delusion, I’d let him explain it to his superiors.

              • Guest

                Stop messing up the narrative. Stick with the propaganda.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                I don’t run an enterprise with these rules, but I learned them from Les Schwab and Tom Monaghan. People who actually, you know, bothered to read the Bible.

                • Guest

                  Oh, and when everyone is a billionaire we can then be Christian and evenly distribute money that we actually have.

                  Until then we can be Christian by being good stewards and understanding that the God you quoted in Scripture is the same God of prudence, common sense, and logic.

                  It is not about not providing just wages. It is about defining just wages.

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    Those men didn’t start out billionaires, and Les died leaving a net worth of less than $35,000.

                    I see no common sense nor prudence nor logic in your words, at all. Just denial of duty.

                    • Micha_Elyi

                      Where’s the billions you produced? Where are all the tire stores full of employees you pay a living wage to?

                      I love science fiction but even though I see your fiction, where’s the science?

                    • GUest

                      You propose some ideal and when I press for specifics you give none.

                • Adam__Baum

                  Yeah, well guess what, even when Monaghan ran the business his drivers weren’t getting what you would demand. Guess he read ‘em differently than you-and why he succeeded and you whine about time shares.

      • Adam__Baum

        “Structuring a government and an economy with the proper division of authority according to subsidiarity is, it seems to me, the issue at hand.”
        The federal government’s (DHS) just purchased ~2700 (military) assault vehicles. DHS is not a branch of the military, and isn’t a police force. What possible need is there for this fleet?
        We don’t structure the government anymore, it structures us.

        • http://renewthechurch.wordpress.com/ Thomas Richard

          “We don’t structure the government anymore, it structures us.”
          I keep thinking, 2016. 2016. 2016. … Maybe the U.S. will be given another chance to wake up – to grow up.

          • Adam__Baum

            I wish that were true. 2016 will only determine the speed of the train, not the track.
            Then again if it’s Chris(pie) Cream or the third installment of the Bushes, I’m sitting it out.

            • http://itascriptaest.wordpress.com/ Ita Scripta Est

              You should sit it out more often.

              • Adam__Baum

                You should be evaluated, soon.

    • Watosh

      Oh yes, the “free market” in which the powerful corporations can dictate to their suppliers just how much they will pay for their products. An example read Eric Schlosser’s book “Fast Food Nation”. And in the free market big corporations can tell their employees either accept what we are willing to pay you or we will move off shore to a low wage country. We also see how the free market works when huge corporations like Haliburton are awarded billion dollar, no-bid, cost plus contracts by the government. While the Catholic Church has endorsed the living wage, the “free market” endorses the paying of the least wage that workers can accept. The advocates of the “free market” are very clever as pied pipers and spin a very attractive picture of the benefits of the “free market” just like the advocates of Communism painted a glorious picture of how everyone would prosper if Communism took over and able to work its Magic. Yet those selling the “free market” snake oil find easy pickings in convincing conservative Catholics to get on the free market road to slavery. In the meantime those with the most wealth have seen their wealth double in the last ten years or so while wages have stayed flat.

      • Adam__Baum

        “read Eric Schlosser’s book “Fast Food Nation”. ”
        Sorry, not into industrial pornography.

        • Nestorian

          Your incessant lack of charity on practically every single Crisis thread is astonishing. Don’t you ever think about the impression about Christianity that non-Christians who may happen to be perusing the site will carry away with them when they read your posts?

          • Adam__Baum

            You and I differ only in the volume of postings and the specificity of charges.

            The left routinely issues genera indictments and then complaint when somebody takes issues w

      • Micha_Elyi

        “Oh yes, the ‘free market’ in which the powerful corporations can dictate
        to their suppliers just how much they will pay for their products.”–Watosh

        And suppliers can simply refuse. Some even do. Sometimes one must fire the customer. Betcha never thought of that but it happens. That’s why it’s a free market not a slave market.

        • Adam__Baum

          “Oh yes, the ‘free market’ in which the powerful corporations can dictate
          to their suppliers just how much they will pay for their products.”–Watosh”
          The only type of organization that can do that.. is one approaching monopSONY.. the only things that approximate monopsony is sovereign governments.

        • Watosh

          Yes suppliers can refuse, but when the buyers are huge and the supplier is small, if the supplier does not sell their supplies they go out of business. That is the point, the free market doesn’t exist when a small supplier is dependent on selling their supplies to a huge buyer whose purchases make or break the suppliers business. As far as firing the customer, why if a supplier has a monopoly on his product, if the customer can’t pay what the monopolists asks, the supplier will of course drop the customer. It is a bit of a strain to characterize this as “firing” the customer, but firing does seem to appeal to some mind sets for some reason. Anyway what I was getting at is that there is no such thing as a free market when there is a market imbalance between buyer and seller. It is an illusion that the huge economic powerful like to spread, since it allows them to exploit people and while convincing the people they are in charge.Like our politicians like to pretend they are :hired” by the people to “work” for the people, since this is something the people like to believe. The big corporations, and their political allies, experienced in getting people to buy their product, and being in control of the media as they are, have a number of perception management experts to con people into believing that slavery is freedom. Nota Bene, the NFL gives those that do poorly an advantage in the draft, and helps spread its wealth, controlling what teams can spend in order to insure MORE COMPETITION between teams. They realize the long run results of allowing unrestricted competition between the rich teams and the poorer teams. They openly strive for equality.

          • Adam__Baum

            “Nota Bene, the NFL gives those that do poorly an advantage in the draft,
            and helps spread its wealth, controlling what teams can spend in order
            to insure MORE COMPETITION between teams.”

            You don’t much understand the NFL do you?

            • Watosh

              Well I have been a fan of, and watched, pro-football since Don Hutson was making all kinds of records playing for the Green Bay Packers. I still watch pro-football but I am saddened by the way over the years taunting the opponent has become so widespread, and players do a little dance after they make a play, or pound on their chest for after making a routine tackle. This to me shows a lack of class. It reflects poorly on the state of mind of those doing the taunting.

              This modern tendency to taunt an opponent seems to have manifested itself in the way Adam Baum goes after various comments. It seems like he not only wants to win every point, but he also seems to want to make his target cringe away in embarrassment for ever making the idiotic comment that they did. This does not strike me as how one participates in any search for the truth. I think Adam Baum needs help, I really do after reading all his replies today and other days.

    • crakpot

      Jesus admonished the rich man to help the poor. He did not have the Apostles hold him down while He rifled through his pockets. He left the rich man unfettered.

      Jesus did however throw the money changers and dove sellers out of the temple. They had been given legitimacy and monopoly by the temple leaders. That’s what governments do.

      We do not seek liberation from our responsibilities to do whatever we want, nor do we seek to force our will on others; We seek freedom from unjust power, to do as one ought. It’s time the Church stop grouping us with the former and siding with the latter.

      • Adam__Baum

        “Jesus admonished the rich man to help the poor. ”

        Yes he did- directly. Not by erecting a massive, ineffective and often counterproductive bureaucracy and then advocating for it’s continual growth-all while congratulating oneself on their charity to, and solidarity with the poor.
        Much of what people do “for” the poor is to quote a recent appointee to the Supreme Court “a vapid and hollow charade”.

        I’m thinking of the days before “hope and change” when the “homelessness” cause that seems now forgtten was all the rage in conspicuous displays of public piety. The local “Catholic” college would organize it’s students to spend a night outside to “experience” homelessness, as if one night outside with the assurance of returning to a nice safe dormitory the next was anything like wandering the streets with no hope, addicted or addled and certainly without access to Mommy and Daddy’s bank account.

        • mziyabo

          In the Evangelii Gaudium the Pope calls for a removal of the same beurocracy you mention. He has even gone as far as disciplining the excesses of one of his own in spending the money availed to the church. You may have to give him time. In a world full of have nots the voice of the Pope in defending the poor is assurance for many who are suffering.

    • Tony

      I told my students last week that never in the history of the United States has it been less likely that someone born into poverty will climb out of it — and that that is almost entirely due to moral and cultural decline. When my father was growing up hungry and poor, with his nine siblings and his father whose once-broken neck kept him from continuing to work in the mines, the poor were lean and fit (because they were outside all the time, and they worked), and their families were tight and strong (because they had to rely on one another, and divorce, though rare, was largely a vice indulged by richer people).

      I know that Pope Francis has to speak to all peoples and not just to rich westerners, who keep the poor locked in place, as their political clients or their customers for worthless or noxious “goods” like porn — who send them a check from the government and tell them to get lost. When he suggests that we soft-pedal the moral issues, from the point of view of an enemy of wealthy secularism it comes across as comforting the comfortable.

      • Adam__Baum

        “that never in the history of the United States has it been less likely that someone born into poverty will climb out of it”

        The miracle of the family is that it is the only institution that can determine whether one of its members is the recipient of an unfortunate peril, somebody in a temporary bind or somebody who is so infirm or incompetent as to cause it to be compelling and necessitous that they be relieved of the responsibility of sufficiency and than exert the proper incentives for that person to make the most of their endowment and their circumstances.

        Children are of course to be relieved of all but the most basic requirements, with graduated intensity of demand as they grow. If you live long enough, you will likely become disadvantaged or incapable by virtue of age. Each group has it’s unique place.

        What we’ve lost is that intergenerational connection. Children rode the wagon, parents did most of the pulling and grandparents served to offer advice and wisdom on the best route, having seen the road ahead before.

        Today, we have families of several that lack fathers, and have no institutional memory of the habits of thift, industgenerations ry or deference that are required for life.
        It’s no accident that poverty has become more instiutionalized and more intractable as the state supplanted the family.

        • Guest

          That is a great point. It reveals, once again, that the moral law is central to our life. That is not in vogue.

          • Adam__Baum

            The great enterprise of the left is to decouple responsibility from rights. Any wonder we have so many people who are morally neutered?

            • Guest

              I find there is almost no talk about responsibility only about a just living wage. Anything moral is not to be discussed as it is “judging”. You may only judge those who do not provide a “just living wage”. Whatever that really means.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                A living wage won’t help an immoral person. It isn’t “make the person rich” it is “pay the person enough so that they don’t need food stamps to continue to work”.

                But of course, Martin Luther did away with all that for Protestants by calling James “The epistle of straw”- and that would include James chapter 5.

                • Guest

                  And you pay enough how? See, to state that general principle is nice, but practically it is not possible in all circumstances.

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    Food stamps in most states have a well publicized means test. Check with your local government, and then pay your people more than that.

                    • Guest

                      Do you own a printing press? I mean do you magically make more money to pay your bills?

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        If you are so incredibly incompetent that you can’t pay your workers a living wage, you shouldn’t be in business.

                        If your business model has such thin margins that you can’t stay in business, then you need to get out of business.

                        What part of this is so hard for you to understand? Or do you not know that Price-Cost=profit? This isn’t rocket science, this is basic arithmetic.

                      • Guest

                        You have no idea what you are talking about. You have never met a payroll in your life. How many business have you started?

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        Three. Only one of which I was foolish enough to have employees before I had enough profit to confidently meet payroll. How many business have you started?

                      • Guest

                        More than you apparently and I have been meeting payrolls for over 20 years.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Theodore thinks success is a sign of theft, and failure is a sign of moral rectitude.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Price minus cost = margin.
                        Just won’t stop runnin’ yer yap about matters that elude you, huh?

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        If you want to make more money, try raising your prices.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        And if he raises prices you’ll accuse him of profiteering.

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        Depends, is he making a profit? If he’s raising prices because his costs, including labor, have gone up, that’s the way our standard of living goes up.

                        Inflation is good.

                      • Art Deco

                        No, currency erosion in not good. It disrupts the planning of economic actors and imposes shoe-leather and menu costs.

                        Again, our standard of living improves because of organizational efficiencies and technological application. People can produce more with the same inputs.

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        Deflation never helped the poor. Helps the rich, but not the poor. Only increases in wages help the poor, and increases in wages cause inflation.

                        Maybe if the economic actors would plan for inflation, their planning wouldn’t be disrupted.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Theodore, no other way to say this: there’s something wrong with you. Nobody is advocating deflation.

                        Once again, if you can’t offer an informed comment, offer none.

                      • Art Deco

                        Nobody is advocating deflation.

                        Actually, purveyors of Austrian economics do advocate deflation in certain contingencies.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        m N promote inflation in certain contingencies. Theodore is promo

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        “Nobody is advocating deflation.”

                        Except, of course, those who seek to keep the poor so poor that they can’t afford inflation.

                        Or did it never occur to you that if minimum wages are inflationary, then wage degradation is deflationary?

                      • Art Deco

                        Except, of course, those who seek to keep the poor so poor that they can’t afford inflation.

                        That person does not exist outside your head.

                        wage degradation is deflationary

                        Relative prices change all the time. “Inflation” refers to a general increase in the price level. It is a monetary phenomenon, albeit one stewed through the real economy.

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        Then there are no business people arguing against a living wage?

                      • Adam__Baum

                        No, because the minimum wage is not inflationary. The implications of nonsense is more nonsense.
                        I think everytime you post drivel in your compulsive quest to have the last word, I’m just going to remind people of your status as a time share buyer.

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        Really? I thought you followed the law of supply and demand. Tell me, when you increase the cost of supply, what happens to the demand?

                      • Adam__Baum

                        That’s not inflation. It would be an endogeneous price shock.

                        http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/inflation.asp

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        At that link, the first sentence of the definition of inflation is: “The rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising”.

                        How is a systemic, across the board, increase in prices (a price shock as you put it) NOT increased inflation?

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Inflation is good if you are a debtor looking to pay your bills with a debased currency. In other words, a thief.

                        Theodore, shut up if all you have is demented nonsense.

                      • Art Deco

                        In other words, a thief.

                        No, the people who loaned you the money incorporated expectations re inflation into the interest rate.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Art, Irving Fisher aside, you know that what Theodore wants is a unanticipated increase in inflation. My guess is he’d like to see d2p/dt2 = positive, and perhaps d3p/dt3 = positive as well.

                      • Guest

                        Yes, obscene profits. You should be monitoring every aspect of your employees life to be sure the “living wage” is exactly correct for that person. I recommend 24 hour video monitoring of the person. Just to make sure they have the right amount of money.

                      • Guest

                        This depends on the enterprise in question, the economy and a few other items. If one raises their prices and less money comes in because less people buy then you cannot pay your magic salary to your employee that you are managing by reading their expenses and mail and watching how they live to make sure they have just the right salary that meets your magic number.

                      • me

                        He’s so delusional. Suppose you have 2 employees, they have the same skills and so on, and they work in the same position. Now suppose one is married and has 4 children and the other is single. Both are male. Now, according to Theodore’s ridiculous proposition, we have to pay the married with kids guy more because after all he has more expenses to meet.

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        Or, gasp, just being good enough friends so you don’t need to read their mail.

                        But that would start by seeing your employees as equal partners in the business, rather than as employees.

                        Or as Pope Francis would say, you need the smell of the sheep on you to be a shepherd.

                  • TheodoreSeeber

                    It isn’t possible to look up on a website how much you need to pay somebody so that they don’t need to resort to food stamps?

                    I’m not understanding this one.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      I’m not understanding this one.

                      The last two words are unnecessary.

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        I mean, I can’t understand why somebody can’t look up poverty level on a state website for employers.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Because that what you can make and receive them. I know people who qualified and deferred. One I see in the mirror, the other I share a bed with.
                        Notice the reference to Teddy’s god-the state.

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        Note the reference to Adam’s god- himself. Just like every other individualist I know.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        On the contrary, I decided not to worship your god-the state.
                        I decided I didn’t need to take from others. I guess you find self-sacrifice offensive.

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        You’re still taking from others; capitalism is all about taking from others, whether you admit to it or not.

                      • Art Deco

                        capitalism is all about taking from others, whether you admit to it or not.

                        Um, no. Private enterprise thrives when property rights are well delineated and protected, contracts are enforceable, and parties to agreements make full disclosures.

                      • TheodoreSeeber

                        Private enterprise thrives best when property rights are protected by the gun, when contracts are unilateral, and when fraud is rampant. Why is it so hard to see that theft is easier than production? Even the Modocs knew that one.

                        COMMUNITIES thrive best when property rights are well delineated and protected, when contracts are equal, and parties always make full disclosures. But that isn’t the rule of capital (capitalism), that’s the rule of honesty and morality (religion).

              • givelifeachance2

                And “living wage” is meaningless in an era of two-worker doubledipping couples. How is any employer to know what a given person’s “living wage” would be if the worker’s household has other income streams?

    • George Witwer

      Excellent insight Prof. Lu. Rather than taking sides in the now-stale arguments of the past century between progressivism and liberty, Pope Francis may be pointing us to a new synthesis — one where human dignity is not degraded by either the perverse incentives of the welfare state that destroy both the family and self-responsibility or by policy indifference to the plight of the poor. Instead, we are challenged to devise policy that serves to uplift all of the poor while maintaining the natural incentives for family formation and self-reliance. Such a synthesis could truly serve the moral call of Catholic social justice.

    • Pedsurg

      It has been stated that the perjorative “trickle down” does not appear/was not used in the Holy Father’s original spanish version

      • Adam__Baum

        Then we have the possibility of an unfaithful or malicious translator.

      • Sandy Daze

        Yes, the formulation “trickle down” has been (eloquently) questioned as being the appropriate translation from the original Spanish. Yet, that formulation–trickle down–is what appeared in the official English translation from the Vatican. One has every reason to believe that the official translation will reflect Papa’s intent. If that is not the case, then Papa needs to more closely examine the adequacy of his staff.

        Originally, it was possible to rationalize some of the various pronouncements, media spin, etc as the fault of “imprecise translation,” naivete, etc. Now, after what, nine months, I find such rationales unpersuasive.

      • Marcelus

        I mentioned that a few days ago in a post. I thought I’d look at the spanish version, and it reads: “derrame” If I recall correctly., “economia del derrame”, which translated into “Spill” . from a filled up glass of richness down to the rest of the sectors of society, , and it is exactly the term we use in Argentina to describe the Menem governament back in the 90′s and the 2001 crisis.

        SInce I’d never heard “Trickle down” I looked it up and found different meanings dependind on the site and poster

      • Marcelus

        And , you know better, but if “Tricke down” has a perjorative or offensive implication in the US or in english, for all that matters, Derrame or “splii” do not in spanish at all.

        It is only a way of referring to an economic idea with which one may or may not agree

        And this is why I think He may have written it in spanish originally , who knows..

    • Adam__Baum

      “can identify the influence of a market-worshiping libertarianism in the arguments of American political conservatives”

      It’s not worship, it’s hunger. As the author states:

      “minimal success in their efforts to establish a largely-unregulated free market economy.”

      Consider the most heavily regulated and intervened in industries. Healthcare, education, banking. Are these markets dynamic, delivering new and better products at reduced costs all the time? No. How about the ones that operate with minimal state intrusion, such as the personal computing market?

      And yet here today, we have an interesting indictment of fettered capitalism, contrained markets. Obama talked about “spreading the wealth”, apparently that meant to support the derelict (GM) and fantasy enterprises like Soyndra and Fiskar and with the help of the Fed, to make sure that 16% of all Capital Gains accrued to 400.

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-12-09/here-wealth-effect-wealthiest-400-americans-accounted-16-all-capital-gains

      Nor are the predictable effects limited to the United States, it appears that the Russian Olympics are being run at an astonomical cost, with a great many of Vladimir Putin’s friends benefitting.

      “they are so deeply suspicious of large-scale government intervention,”
      And they should be- the evidence is clear, that it’s not to be trusted.

    • Vinnie

      Capitalism is not a sin. As mentioned (” which continually directs our attention to objectionable attitudes”), it’s the attitude (ie. greed) that can be the sin.
      Subsidiarity is best served by the free market.
      Ya know, I fully understand and support how Pope Francis is focusing on God’s mercy rather than specific doctrine. You get people to understand that mercy which then allows them to understand the doctrine. I don’t see why he doesn’t use that same path for us to serve the poor. Instead he goes into a non-existent economic “doctrine” that condemns a specific policy rather than letting mercy flow through the lives of believers, the body of Christ, to lift up the poor. The attitude should be the sole focus. That’s what he is using for all other social doctrine.

    • cestusdei

      Most only read the parts they like. They forget that Francis has repeatedly affirmed that only men can be ordained and abortion is always wrong. Those who argue about global finance and are liberals…well just tell them to get out their checkbook and empty their savings accounts. You will see how quick they are with excuses when it is their money.

      • Adam__Baum

        Funny thing about the left. Their “idolatry of money” seems only to apply to other’s money.
        It’s more than money. In my state we have a great many volunteer fire departments, they always seem to be staffed not by effete snobs driviing Volvos advocating redistribution, but the people that want to be left alone, who drive pickup trucks and who don’t ask for anything other than a successful summer picnic so they can buy the gear necessary to pull the effete snobs out of their predicaments-you know the people that H111 derides as rednecks.

        • Nick_Palmer3

          Which they’d like to make their own money…

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        As the saying goes, “Put your money where your mouth is.” Liberals are always good at spending other people’s money for them.

      • Marcelus

        exactly so

    • poetcomic1

      Most of the very wealthy have holding and decisive interests in huge corporate entities employing thousands and generally they do not so much ‘own’ as ‘manage’ immense quantities of wealth. They don’t ‘have’ a billion dollars, they control a billion dollars (productively or they are in trouble). There is really no way to ‘take’ these billions of dollars away and ‘give’ them to the ‘poor’.

    • hombre111

      Interesting to see that you can consider having a pleasant exchange with Pope Francis. I cannot imagine any woman who disagreed with Pope John Paul having a pleasant exchange of any kind with that dour old Pole.

      • Art Deco

        So your imagination is as impoverished as your thinking on a half dozen other topics. This is news?

      • Adam__Baum

        Your bigotry is showing again.

        • Nick_Palmer3

          Still

      • Objectivetruth

        What specific disagreements would a woman have with that “dour old Pole?” And please…..no heretical arguments that are wont to fly from your heretical thoughts, hombre.

      • Objectivetruth

        Pretty soon hombre you’ll be able to call him”SAINT” dour old pole.

        • hombre111

          Which I already do. I put him in the category of St. Jerome, patron saint of women-hating curmudgeons.

          • Adam__Baum

            There’s the door, weevil. Don’t let it hit you on the posterior on the way out. Go, find something that suits you better. You won’t though, you are in it for the money. Don’t say you don’t make that much. It’s still worth more than you’d get on the open market.

          • Art Deco

            What’s arresting about your remarks is that you cannot even offer a plausible characterization of a very prominent and public person, much less a more abstract set of arguments. The other thing is that you write like a man who never had an original observation in his life (nor one which seems derived from a distinctly Catholic milieu). That remark seems cribbed from one of Barbara Ehrenreich old columns.

            • Objectivetruth

              I sincerely doubt hombre111 is even Catholic. Just in here trolling along……

              • Art Deco

                Agreed. More like a retired school teacher who subscribes to The Nation.

                • Adam__Baum

                  And who spent time as an NEA organizer, more like loco perra.

                • me

                  He is a Liberation Theology sympathizer retired priest, as per some previous comments. That explains a lot, why he’s a quasi-communist.

          • Objectivetruth

            And how about that male chauvinist, Jesus Christ, hombre? My goodness……not even letting women be Apostles! Only men at the table at the Last Supper! Scandalous, I say! The good Lord must be in the top five of your women-hating curmudgeon list!

    • John Uebersax

      I would respectfully propose that the main and unremitting message of the
      Vatican should be one of personal spiritual renewal; for, without this, there
      will not be any form of just economic system (and, with it, we may reasonably
      suppose that economic reform will occur by itself).

      • Diego Fernando Ramos Flor

        Sure, but sins have consequences and, sometimes, build a structure that encourage sinning; the Church is on its right, and on its duty, to make claims on this structures and thier consequences.

    • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

      Instead of reviling non-existing unfettered markets, a strawman argument, the Holy Father would do better to address the plague of unfettered governments.

    • Diego Fernando Ramos Flor

      It’s absolutely necessary to read Warcholik’s article to get a broader perspective on this, and even more necessary is to read the Apostolic Exhortation itself. Even better, we should understand this Exhortation not as an isolated document, but as a part of the whole Magisterium (which contains a lot of thing on a lot of issues); most of the analysis I have read make no mention on Encyclicals released previously (we shouldn’t be surprised to see stronger criticizing of free markets and libertarianism on previous encyclicals).

    • Nick_Palmer3

      For more than five decades I have smugly enjoyed hearing of Jesus’ many foils in the Gospels, and seeing myself as superior to them. Those Pharisees, and the pesky Sadducees, the cads who avoided the beaten man before the Samaritan arrived, and so many others were clearly my moral lessers

      Then a friend recommended identifying my own attitudes and actions with those antagonists. How am I like them? Romano Guadini in “Learning the Virtues that Lead You to God” constantly brings his reader down from the global to focus on one’s own complicity in wrongdoing and malfeasance.

      Rachel does a great job of bringing my thinking onto that same plane regarding Evangelii Gaudium. She avoids mind reading, and splits no hairs. If I take EG as a challenge to my own ideas and behaviors, I am certain that I will move closer to what God intends.

      Yet, that it the challenge. For me.

    • 12345mk

      I haven’t seen anybody talk about Liberation Theology. Does Evangelii Gaudium prove that the Pope is a believer in the teachings of Marx via Liberation Theology?

      What about his meeting with Gustavo Gutiérrez, the father of Liberation Theology?

      • Adam__Baum

        I’m not going to condemn him for meeting with anyone. To do so is to follow that road is to use the same logic that complained about Christ meeting with tax collectors.

        • 12345mk

          I am not calling for any such condemnation. Besides, the important part of what I typed was not the meeting with Gutiérrez, it was the rhetoric contained in Evangelii Gaudium.

          It does seem like there is a real argument to be made that his meeting with Gutiérrez helps us to understand what he wrote in Evangelii Gaudium. But let’s take the meeting off the table, because I don’t want to focus in on it.

          The focus is Evangelii Gaudium – does that not (take steps toward) prove that Pope Francis is one of these Liberation Theology types?

          • Adam__Baum

            Short answer, no. There’s more “Liberation Theology” types on this board.

            Benedict wasn’t the monster the press said he was and Francis won’t be the heretic that they want him to be.

            • Marcelus

              Perfectly put:

              “Benedict wasn’t the monster the press said he was and Francis won’t be the heretic that they want him to be.”

              • Adam__Baum

                Thanks.

      • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

        Quite the contrary, for nothing that the pope said comes from Liberation Theology, though somewhat that Francis said has some points in common with it.

      • Marcelus

        Said it before. He Also met Putin so?. LT is no longer an option in Latin America. Many Jesuits in the 70′s in Argentina were “tempted” and it was up to their Provincial to keep them “on board”.Guess who he was?

      • Marcelus

        Could not add this before, but look, He also met with Crdnl Castrillon, former Prefect of Ecclesia Dei, but that will not make him anything other :

        http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/tradizione-rito-anitcopapa-el-papa-pope-29667/

        http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2013/05/pope-francis-rejects-attack-on-old-rite.html

      • Marcelus

        La messa antica non si tocca, il Papa gesuita spiazza ancora tutti (“The old mass is not to be touched, the Jesuit Pope wrong-foots everyone”

    • Guest

      Dr. Lu thank you, again, for your wonderful essay. I hope many read it and write about it. You have taken a very even handed approach and summarized the problems with charity and precision.

      The Left seems to want to pin the cafeteria label on anyone who thoughtfully wonders why our Holy Father’s words must constantly be revisited to ascertain what exactly is being said. It is not about criticizing Christ’s Vicar on earth but about trying to understanding his points well.

      With that said, I wish more intelligent orthodox Catholics would say just that. I wish they could say hey we agree with you Holy Father, we are just asking that you explain things with more clarity so that so many do not impute their private ideology onto your words and then claim the Church does not care about moral truth and being a Christian is mostly about alleviating material poverty above all else.

    • http://itascriptaest.wordpress.com/ Ita Scripta Est

      In regards to economic matters Pope Francis is not saying anything new it is just that Right-liberals like Rush Limbaugh are so ignorant that they squeal “Marxist” at any policy to the left of Ayn Rand.

      • Micha_Elyi

        Yeah, sure.*

        *The English language does have a double-positive that indicates a negative.

        • http://itascriptaest.wordpress.com/ Ita Scripta Est

          You may be a lot of things but “deep” is not one of them.

          • Adam__Baum

            Nobody who thinks of the political spectrum as a linear or unidimensional should be accusing anybody else of lacking depth.

            • http://itascriptaest.wordpress.com/ Ita Scripta Est

              The Right routinely does that.

              • Adam__Baum

                How would you know?

    • Facile1

      Collusion with government (ie the collusion of ‘Big Business’ and Government, the collusion of Church and State, etc.) is what kills ‘free-markets.’

      Love GOD first. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. And there will be no need for government and its taxes.

    • GorSm

      The introductory line describes precisely how I felt shortly after the election of Pope Benedict every time I heard his name. I often wondered who his advisors were. I thought they must have been out to sabotage him. … and I do believe I recall many ‘reworkings’ of his comments. [... and I am orthodox in my beliefs!]
      Now I will read the rest of the article.

    • Don Campbell

      The American economic system is not fundamentally unjust. “Poverty” in the U.S. is a joke compared to other places in the world. A recent study found that the average American “poor” family was likely to have more living space than the average European non-poor family, has air conditioning, running water and sewer, never suffers malnutrition for lack of food but instead is likely to have an obesity problem, access to emergency healthcare, adequate transportation, cell phones, a flat screen television, internet access and, if they have male children, a video game system. This, in a world where over 2 billion people lack running water, sewer and electricity. We are a spoiled people. What’s causing our current problem is a global labor force that is hungry and willing to work for peanuts to produce the things we used to produce. When you figure out how to change that, let me know, because until then we are going to have to get used to stagnating incomes and less economic opportunity for most Americans.

    • Vinnie

      My issue with this issue is: we are told not to focus on specific doctrine just mercy. Once understood, God’s mercy will allow people to understand the doctrine. With this however, we are told to just focus on a specific economic doctrine which doesn’t exist. Mercy isn’t part of the equation. It’s like saying it’s sinful to be a physician because physicans do abortions. Not everything is good but anything can be bad if you have the wrong attitude with it.

    • Pingback: Mere Links 12.10.13 - Mere Comments

    • Margaret

      The Pope is not an economist. CS Lewis points out, “The clergy are those particular people within the whole Church who have been specially trained and set aside to look after what concerns us as creatures who are going to live forever: and we are asking them to do a quite different job for which they have not been trained. The job is really on us, on the laymen. The application of Christian principles, say, to trade unionism and education, must come from Christian trade unionists and Christian schoolmasters; just as Christian literature comes from Christian novelists and dramatists–not from the bench of bishops getting together and trying to write plays and novels in their spare time.”

    • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

      The Holy Father teaches from the authority conferred by Christ Himself as Head of the Church. He is not speaking from an ideological perspective. If liberals agree with him on this, more power to them. It is really a question of power. The wealth have economic power, the poor do not. Grassroots organizations can promote reform, but have no power to change what the wealthy elites do, much of which is harmful to society and takes away human dignity as the pope points out. That is why government must act. The neo-con argument makes no sense. The pope’s exhortation is about evangelization, and how to build a more open society where sharing is possible, not comparing free market with totalitarian regimes, although he does point out that unfettered capitalism leads also to a certain form of tyranny.

      • Adam__Baum

        “Neo-con”. And off went my scatol detector. The neo-COM argument imakes no sense.
        Break it down: “government must act”
        Implied:
        Government knows more and better than everybody else. It’s actions will proceed as planned, with now adverse and/or unintended consequences.Politicians are wise and noble.
        Boy the left gets religion awful fast when they think it’ll be the useful idiot of their statist idolatry.

        • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

          So the suggestion is to overlook the ridiculous, off-the-wall quotation of WSJ columnist and not call it what it is because that is no longer in vogue? Government is necessary to restrain capitalism. But that is not the point of the pope’s statement. The point is that capitalism as it exists in the world today corrupts, excludes, marginalizes people and is thus a social evil which interferes with personal freedom

          • Adam__Baum

            No, the suggestion is to ignore posters that think their self-seducing poetry is fact, when it is “ridiculous” and “off the wall”.

            I love this government restraining capitalism stuff.

            You mean the same government that subsidizes its friends, erects barriers to entry for them, and punishes enemies has a revolving door between K street and Wall Street, made GM a 10.5 BILLION dollar zombie, threw millions more at Solyndra (when its external auditor said it was toast) and Fiskar, gave us the TARP and stimulus bailouts, is enriching the financial sector with QE, gave us an incomprehensible tax code, passes laws with thousands of pages that nobody reads, and that engender tens of thousands of pages of regulations..

            Not to intrude into your statist fantasy, but who restrains government?

            • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

              So obviously readers should ignore your posts. Anyone using a logo like yours on a Catholic magazine website has got to be a statist dis-informationist and completely off the wall.

              Are you suggesting that the pope is speaking of some economic system other than capitalism? Do you believe that there is any other way to restrain capitalists than through heavy taxation and state regulatory measures? This is already here. This is not “statism”. This is government protecting the people governed.

              • Adam__Baum

                Hey dimbulb. Obviously I hit it right on the head.

                It’s not a “logo”, it’s a herald or an avatar.

                The only purpose is to alert people who can think that the “adam baum” is a pseudonym, and any real Adam Baums shouldn’t receive left wing harassment.

                Pay attention. The Pope had economic criticisms, and criticisms that might be colored from a life lived in a crony-capitalist quagmire. The letter wasn’t prescriptive in nature and it never said an almighty state was the answer.

                Your posts should be ignored, as they are the rants of a statist.

                • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

                  Since you like name-calling, why should anyone pay attention to ANY of your diatribes? It is obvious that you are nothing but a statist shill anyway. And that may well violate the magazine’s etiquette rules.

                  Look knucklehead. It is a fair reading of the document that the pope is saying that capitalism poses a direct threat to the people of God and impedes evangelization by creating classes of people who are marginalized, excluded, and left out of meaningful participation in social decision-making. Are you in agreement that the pope is speaking about capitalism, or is it your contention that this is about some other economic system? The pope is not advocating a “statist” solution, nor am I.

                  Ms. Lu says that she prefers grassroots initiatives with less government intervention. My point is not more government. I am simply saying that grassroots initiatives will not stop capitalists from their destructive activities which the pope brings to light because the wealthy have economic power whereas the poor do not. Is this what you disagree with? My contention is that government must therefore mobilize resources to remedy the social evils which the pope so generously highlights. If government does not act, what is your solution to solving the problems created by capitalists who hold economic power as delineated in the papal document? Or are you one of those whom the pope implicitly condemns for allowing injustice to continue because you worship King Money?

                  • Adam__Baum

                    You don’t hve contentions. You have fears and phantoms. Your opening salvo was “government must act”. You have continued on an indictment of private commerce and attributed to it intrinsic evil, without even trying to consider the record of government.
                    Money is your king, and government’s not mine. You are the one obsessed with your neighbors posessions.
                    You are bilieous and envious, and your blind faith in the wise incorruptibility of government make you a statist fool.

              • Deacon Ed Peitler

                Time to return to the farm, Michael. You’ve been on the loose too long.

                • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

                  At some point we have to say enough is enough. So far, this is beginning to degenerate into ad hominem attacks where no further discussion is productive. Perhaps I have blown someone’s cover, or that person was too quick to judge negatively what I was saying.

          • Guest

            The Pope said capitalism is all that? Or did he say the people acting immorally do that?

            This is the problem with vague and imprecise language. We all get to impute our own ideas onto the Pope’s words and call it Catholic teaching.

            • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

              We can all pretend that capitalism does no harm to anyone. That is not what the pope is saying in the document.

              • Guest

                He said capitalism is wrong?

              • Guest

                The Pope did not condemn capitalism. He would be contradicting past Pope’s.

                • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

                  Those who promote selfishness, hoggishness, greed, the wealthy taking advantage of the poor, exclusion and marginalization of the underprivileged do so using the excuse that America is a capitalist society, extolling the benefits of free markets. It matters little what particular ideology world leaders espouse. What is needed is conversion to a more realistic and just structuring, ergo getting rid of the obstacles to the Gospel message at all levels, both in government and within the business community.

                  • Guest

                    Where did the Pope say capitalism is contrary to Catholic teaching? Just show us.

                  • Deacon Ed Peitler

                    My guess is that you are yet another victim of the 60′s

              • Adam__Baum

                So capitalism is this colossal evil that must be restrained by the good force of government?

                There’s a couple hundred million graves that attest to the goodness of governent, statist. You are in California, why don’t you talk to some of the beneficiaries of Executive Order 9066.

                • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

                  My disinformation agency detector now on high alert. The horrendous logo and vain attempts to change the subject about what the pope is saying are a dead giveaway. The pope is not advocating more government. Just pointing out certain social evils that threaten the life and dignity of God’s people, interfering with the Church’s legitimate work of evangelization. If what the pope is saying isn’t about capitalism, why the uproar from capitalist apologists?

                  • Adam__Baum

                    If your “detector” is on high alert, it’s sensing your disinformation.
                    Even if you were presenting a coherent critique rather than visceral and nebulous complaints against a phantom of your imagination, you’d still have to explain your comments- not the Pope’s-since he didn’t prescribe what you want-why adults should indulge your blind statist faith in government and the belief that it is a why it is immune from greed, and how it is a wise and incorrupt thing.

                    Stupid statist idolater. I will not worship your golden calf.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    “My disinformation agency detector now on high alert.”

                    Because you are font of disinformation. The Pope’s remarks are only relevant because you want to appropriate them to the purposes of statism.

                    If you want to propose that the state is fit entity to supervise all private activity, then the we will examine the record of the state’s use of power, in order to determine whether it is used wisely and properly. You exhibit no concern for restraining the state, which is a discrete actor, as opposed to the amorphous force of “capitalism”.

                    You complain about “capitalism” “as it exists in the world today corrupts, excludes, arginalizes people and is thus a social evil which interferes with personal freedom. ”

                    It’s the state which is using the IRS and other agencies to pick winners and losers, is establishing a huge data warehouse, buying thousand of urban assault vehicles and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

                    It’s been my experience that the believers in statism are generally either young (your picture indicates you are not young) or just somebody who can’t stand that fact that haven’t attained some great aspirations they imagined they were capable of when they were young. Instead of just dealing with life as it is, they construct an elaborate fantasy, given form only by the vacant and envious ramblings they imagine are insightful and orthodox. My guess is you are the fox calling the grapes sour.

                  • Deacon Ed Peitler

                    The Pope should stay away from lectures on economics. Helping the faithful get to heaven is what he can do most effectively. Leave it to faithful Catholics (and I mean faithful as in orthodox) to work out the details of everyday life.

                    And since the Holy Father is an expert in demonstrating for us how to live a holy life, I would suggest that he use all his savings and with what he would need to borrow from a bank or other lending sources, begin some business. Then, with the profits of that business show us exactly how we ought to use money for the good of others and to advance justice. That would be most instructive.

                    • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

                      It is narrow minded to expect the pope not to engage in discussion affecting the lives of the faithful. His commission to teach the Gospel message is from God. His comments with regard to capitalism in this context are part of a preliminary overview of several world conditions tending to obstruct authentic evangelization. These injustices must be remedied first to allow for a free and open society in which evangelization is possible. That in my estimation is the sum and substance of Chapter Two (I) [52-75] “Some challenges of today’s world”.

                    • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

                      He already runs a business. It is called the Catholic Church.

              • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

                Capitalism harms no one, people do. Communism harms no one, people do. Therefore, people making regulations harm people and people hampering the market harm people.

                • Deacon Ed Peitler

                  Makes a lot of sense to me.

              • Adam__Baum

                Tell us how to pretend. You seem to be exceptionally skilled at it.

                • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

                  You are the Great Pretender. Why don’t you tell us?

                  • Adam__Baum

                    That’s the best you have?

                    • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

                      Well AB it is time to wrap this up.

                      • Adam__Baum

                        Does this mean we’ll be free of your statist idolatry?

              • Guest

                The Pope did not condemn capitalism. Please do not graft your ideology onto his words and pass it off as Catholic teaching.

                • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

                  To summarize, capitalism not only marginalizes but now also excludes many people from participating in their own communities and prevents them from having useful work to support families. It reduces people ideologically to one dimensional consumers of goods and services, completely overlooking the spiritual dimension. It wastes vast valuable resources on unnecessary security measures disregarding the underlying causes of violence in poor communities and therefore does not reduce the level of violence one bit. It promotes a culture of inequality.

                  All these are contrary to gospel values and greatly interfere with Christ’s mandate to go out to all peoples and nations to bring joy and to share the good news.

                  • Guest

                    Where did the Pope condemn capitalism?

          • Art Deco

            No, government is necessary to delineate and enforce property rights, enforce contracts, produce ‘public goods’ that do not arise from market transactions, police the use of common property resources, contain and induce compensation for externalities, punish corporations for violations of public order as delineated in the penal code, punish selected corporate officers for violations of the penal code under the color of business practice, set standards for transparency in commercial and miscellaneous fee-for-service transactions, adjudicate tort claims, set standards which delineate responsibilities necessary to avoid tort claims, define fiduciary responsibilities and enforce judgments against those failing in them, and enforce claims derived from status rather than explicit contract.

            • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

              Government is not mandated to do any of these things. Good government will always act toward its proper purpose to bring about justice. Since capitalism causes injustice as pointed out in the papal document, government leaders have a grave responsibility and duty to curtail and rein in capitalism.

              • Guest

                You are using “capitalism” in some vague and loose way.

              • Deacon Ed Peitler

                The Holy Father, if this is what he meant, is simply in error.

    • wineinthewater

      I think this is an excellent article. But after reading several of the comments, I think there is something profoundly missing in this conversation. Pope Francis is not talking about redistribution of wealth, he is talking about underlying injustice in economic systems, and fundamental errors to certain “trends” of thinking.

      We have to remember that the Catholic Church teaches that one of the purposes, and in fact one of the principle responsibilities, of the state is to restrain evil. This is the true purpose of economic regulation. Under-regulated markets aren’t any more free than over-regulated markets, they are just chained by sin instead of regulations. When the pope talks about things that look “top down,” that is what he is talking about, the state’s responsibility to restrain evil.

      Though some on the political left may not make any distinction, Catholic social teaching makes a very clear distinction between charity for the poor and justice for the poor. Ensuring the common good does not mean handouts for the “have-nots” taken by force from the “haves,” it means constructing a society that benefits all, not just some.

      Yet so many of these comments don’t go beyond a critique of social welfare programs that effectively redistribute wealth. So many of the commenters seem to read “social welfare” no matter what the pope actually says about economic justice.

    • http://www.westernperspective.blogspot.com/ Michael O’Hearn

      So the suggestion is that we overlook the ridiculous, stupid quote by WSJ columnist, or simply not refer to him as what he is because it is no longer in vogue nowadays? Time to get real for a change.

    • Will Buttarazzi

      Thanks for your candid assessment in this article. In a recent post in Baltimore’s Business Journal the famous writer, David Simon, author of “The Wire” etc. indicates at the Dangerous Ideas Conference in Sydney,Australia , that Baltimore Represents the Worst of Capitalism. http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/blog/morning-edition/2013/12/david-simon-says-baltimore.html . When posting on FaceBook with my comments on the article, I referenced Lord Acton and http://www.acton.org. Some friends saw the David Simon headlines and commented that this was similar to what Pope Francis pointed to but I would strongly contend that Simon and Francis come at this from differing perspectives, pointing towards differing solutions. Simon points to a social contract and references Marxism and Socialism, Francis points to a social contract and references Christ, prodding the joy we have discovered in the gospel to guide our interaction in the moral discourse of our our community and country. My caution of the socialist mode of response to this crisis of the “two Americas” is that I believe there is culpability in any model if devoid of a spiritual framework. While capitalism devoid of morals/conscience is damning, socialism too can fit that bill, especially when there is an assumption that the “good” will be delivered and is the responsibility of the State (after collecting the taxes, etc…) I would guess that Francis, like many other topics, has entered a conversation, that to some will be irksome, some an opportunity to turn to their short-term ideological benefit, but to the faithful, a call to live the gospel joyfully, engaging our community in what we have found in Christ. Thanks again for your candid assessment, I hope you will enjoy the invitation to further engage your audience and the broader community in the joy of the gospels.

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    • C Mys

      Ms. Lu, good news! There is no quandary – re: “trickle-down” theory, free markets, et. al. – at all for you. Catholic philosopher Michael Novak gives the low down here: http://nationalreview.com/article/365720/agreeing-pope-francis-michael-novak

    • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

      If you’d like to read Evangelii Gaudium as people do in the 21st century, someone out there did the yeoman’s work and created a Kindle version:
      - English: https://mega.co.nz/#!mMl3iApZ!AxO9917LElzPPkg3ACAD21pFsQJSN5bA4AFIfiYo6sM
      - Spanish: https://mega.co.nz/#!WEEnyKAA!JLJHSwNNANIWw5fQgySk5GZfMixHfeZrW-qw7sgdqiU

    • Benjamin Warren

      Like most bishops, unfortunately, the Pope is nefarious, bumbling, and disastrous. His Holiness is a third-world demagogue and he tests my faith. He fills conservative Protestants with contempt. He has dramatically worsened the schism of the SSPX, declared the coming canonization of the infamous John XXIII, tolerated the ruin of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, and ruined for years, and possibly centuries, the carefully fought for positions of Catholic conservatives of all stripes, which, by itself, will strongly promote schism. Cardinal Burke has no PR sense but would have been far better. We need all persons voting for the graduated income tax (meaning, any left-wing political party) in the Church to be threatened with excommunication immediately, because America, the rock of the world, is threatened by Marxism, from which nations never recover!

      Two other things. Leftists ought to be called “leftist”, not liberal, because they are illiberal. They favor slavery, not freedom. Confucius promoted the idea that the first step on the path to wisdom requires calling things by their right names. Second, there’s no such thing as social justice, an Orwellian term coined to demonize the defenders of property. May conservatives never use the term, except in contempt!

      • Marcelus

        So Dunk the Pope started early today. Sorry I missed it

        “His Holiness is a third-world demagogue ”

        Can you Catholic speaking of Peter like this?

        Think about this, good or bad: Just how did He get elected?

        Were the Cardinals wrong?

        DId they not look for such man and ways for Today’s Church?

        Did they not know him?

    • kitty

      I only have partial knowledge on this which is kind of dangerous. I am a right wing economist and I used to think that my views clanged with my Catholic faith. When I heard all the lefty social justice stuff I stuck even more firmly to my right wing views. Under the Natural Law it is reasoned that there needs to be private property. Moreover Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that income tax was wrong unless a nation was at war – to say that today you would be labelled a nut case. And from a Catholic (pre-vatican II) text that “the more government the more man is a slave”. Having said that I have recently been going to Catholic lectures on philosophy. Prior to these lectures I believed Adam Smith was a great man. He is now in my opinion a very intelligent person but his philosophy is flawed.To establish modern economics (by the way he is not the father of capitalism) he had to remove God. By doing that one of Smith’s conclusions is that you should judge a person’s character by their wealth. Adam Smith’s theories are partly responsible for putting children down coal mines and in factories and exploiting the weak. I imagine this is what Francis refers to where in many Asian countries for example there is exploitation and unfairness which we do not have in the West. I am not talking here about local populations going to work in multinational factories. Those people go there voluntarily and for the most part local conditions are better off by having those factories. I am talking about a culture where people would sell their granny for a bag of sugar. It is a desperate capitalism with no morality.What Francis is saying is nothing new. Many conservative Catholics having been saying the same things for decades in different ways ie that extreme individualism is just as much as a threat to man’s happiness as communism.

      • Art Deco

        Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that income tax was wrong unless a nation was
        at war – to say that today you would be labelled a nut case.

        It is exceedingly unlikely that any central government would have had the information set to levy an income tax in 13tn century Italy or France.

        • kitty

          Aquinas wrote about it and you can look it up, He believed that governments, or in his case Kings, should be self sufficient ie live off their own wealth. Note that this belief of no income tax lasted right up to the beginning of the twentieth century when governments – Australia anyway and I would imagine the US was the same – were frightened to lift the tax rate much beyond 2%. After two world wars Western governments have not reduced them back to peace-time levels but kept them high. What for? Well from modern economics came other theorists such as Keynes who believed that government could control business cycles and protect people from big business.

          I’ve been to a Catholic lecture where they discussed a priest who had suggested to his then audience that paying income tax to the levels that we pay it could be considered against the Natural Law ie it is unreasonable and that you had no obligation to adhere to it. (I wouldn’t advocate that myself)

      • kitty

        The Catholic Church does advocate a subsistence wage to be offered by a federal government to those people in hardship after all avenues have been exhausted ie family, charity and local council. That doesn’t mean a welfare state that we have now – the welfare state has largely grown from governments taking power from the people. Note also St Paul’s criticism to freeloaders on the early Church community.

    • Marcelus
    • NE-Catholic

      Rachel, your column does an excellent job describing why no economically literate, practicing Catholic will lose any sleep over the statements attributed to our erstwhile Pope.

      The fundamental problem I have with him is his obviously lack of effort or even concern to assure that his ideas are clearly communicated, translated or heard. His humility is obvious, his commitment to poverty – nicely stated – however, it needs something more than optics and audio to be convincing – consider the annual revenue stream of the Catholic Church in the US (estimated to exceed $180B) is larger than the total GDP of most countries – we can only guess what the global haul is – and that Obama’s buddy (and jovial, pre-election, very public dining companion), Cardinal Dolan’s NY diocese is spending some $80M to renovate their cathedral, has long paid for abortion insurance and is mining the pockets of successful Catholic businessmen – forgive my doubts.

      I see no reason to wring the truth out of the Pope’s statements, as you do, however, it is more than a bit discouraging to see the Leader of the World’s Catholics provide volumes of creditability and verbal ammunition to those who despise the fundamental moral truths of the Faith.

    • David Brainerd

      This pope is a heretic. After all, he states plainly in this Gaudium document that

      “254. Non-Christians, by God’s gracious initiative, when they are faithful to
      their own consciences, can live ‘justified by the grace of God’, and thus be ‘associated to the paschal mystery of Jesus Christ’.”

      That, my friends, is called heresy.

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    • Marcelus